Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria will soon lose FEMA housing, but lawmakers are pushing for an extension
Senate Democrats are asking federal officials not to send hurricane victims back to Puerto Rico just yet.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration has provided temporary housing for Puerto Ricans affected by September's Hurricane Maria, but that aid is scheduled to end Saturday. The Hill reports that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) initiated a letter with other lawmakers to urge FEMA to grant a 60-day extension.
"If the administration refuses to extend [Transitional Shelter Assistance] or activate the [Disaster Housing Assistance] program, it will be knowingly placing families at risk of homelessness," reads the letter. TSA has paid for lodging for thousands of Puerto Ricans who lost their homes in the hurricane, but about 5,000 people still don't have electricity or repaired houses. Regardless, FEMA's aid will come to an end, after Puerto Rico's governor successfully sought an extension back in May.
Activating the Disaster Housing Assistance Program is one way that lawmakers think the government could provide a longer-term solution for Puerto Ricans who have "few resources to get back on their feet," but FEMA has argued against Puerto Rico's need for DHAP, saying it is "not necessary" and "not cost-effective." The Democratic senators said that FEMA has "yet to complete the mission of ensuring the safety of hundreds of displaced American families across the country," and requested that an extension be granted until aid money is dispersed across the island. Read more at The Hill.